Not much has been happening news-wise. Paradise Lost have issued a cryptic image and date which fans will recognise as a detail from their Gothic album artwork and 2016 also marks the album’s 25th Anniversary… so maybe an anniversary reissue or performance lined up? And on the subject of anniversaries, Anthrax are lining up a deluxe 30th anniversary edition of Spreading the Disease. Their best album if you ask me. And there’s a box set (vinyl and CD editions) due out of The Faces studio albums. I’ve got my pre-order in for that already! I got rid of my Faces CDs quite a few years ago as remasters were being mooted but they didn’t happen for some reason. But now they’re here and I can’t wait! Can’t beat a bit of Rod.
And now, without further ado, let’s take a look at the highlights from my recent listening:
Macabre Omen – Gods of War – At War
This is my most recent purchase. Macabre Omen are a Greek Black Metal band and this is shaping up to be one of the best releases of the year so far. A lot of bands rely on all sorts of bells and whistles to give their music an “epic” scale but here it’s all in the writing and delivery. Much in the way of albums like Bathory’s Hammerheart and there is a strong Bathory flavour here too. I listened to this on the bus today and felt… stirrings.
Manowar – Gods of War
And speaking of stirrings… here’s Manowar! With more “Gods of War” no less! This is quite a brave album of theirs and one that has grown on me very much since its release. I mentioned bells and whistles earlier. Well, this is slathered in them. Orchestras, choirs, narration… you name it. But it’s all very dramatic and the right atmosphere and epic flavour is captured in the actual Metal too. Listen to the title-track and tell me that isn’t music to row longships to! Stirrings happened.
Uriah Heep – Demons and Wizards
This was a good Sunday night listen to accompany some slovenly couch-potatoing.
Def Leppard – Adrenalize
LeBrain has been doing excellent coverage of the Adrenalize-era Def Leppard singles and his reviews got me digging this album out for another listen. It’s not their best album by any means, but I have a big soft spot for this cheese-laden album. Especially the song Stand Up (Kick Love Into Motion), it’s a fantastic track that masterfully tickles me in the Pop parts. And I do love having my Pop parts tickled. It’s a bit like the stirrings but different.
Richard and Linda Thompson – Shoot Out the Lights
I did say last time that there are weekly spins of Richard Thompson music in the HMO compound and I wasn’t lying! And this is one of his (and Linda’s) best. I’m especially enjoying Man In Need these days.
Paradise Lost – The Plague Within
Got to hand it to Paradise Lost. It’s impressive stuff when a band of their vintage is still as creatively switched-on as this. Their latter-day releases have been generally very good (I especially like Faith Divides Us, Death Unites Us and In Requiem) but they’ve not sounded this vital for aeons. A very likely candidate for album of the year. And remind me to show you my sexy box-set of this some time.
Judas Priest – Live at Long Beach Arena
Was starting to feel like Priest were one of those bands that I’ve got fed up with. Like I’ve “solved” them. Well you can’t keep a band like Priest down and this excellent live album (the bonus feature of their recent Defenders of the Faith reissue) totally blew me away. It made me feel like I was hearing tracks like Metal Gods and Sinner for the first time. Sublime.
Cream – Those Were the Days (Disc 2)
The second disc of the Cream box set. I stuck this on mainly to hear Badge, my favourite Cream song (and a bass line I wanted to learn). But I always get a chuckle out of Pressed Rat and Warthog and its atonal apples.
These are the standouts anyway. In addition I listened to the usual Saxon albums that I cover elsewhere. There was some Thrash stuff like Testament’s The Legacy (yawn) and Dark Angel’s Darkness Descends (wooargh!) And I also listened to Opeth’s debut album Orchid for the first time in donkey’s! And rather enjoyed it too.
SONG OF THE WEEK
I was going to go for Def Leppard and Stand Up (Kick Love Into Motion) but I wasn’t quite sure if you were all ready to have your Pop parts tickled so… I went for the Metal Gods. A brilliant version of a classic tune.
[Judas Priest – Metal Gods Live at Long Beach]